The Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support (USG-DFS), Ameerah Haq, concluded a working visit to the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). The trip, representing the new USG's first tour to field missions worldwide, began in Khartoum on Tuesday and ended in El Fasher, North Darfur, on Thursday.
During the visit, Ms. Haq met with Sudanese officials, representatives of the UN Country Team and UNAMID leadership. "This is my first visit to a field mission in my new role, and I am planning to visit all the other missions," said the USG, who became the Head of DFS on 11 June 2012. "The purpose of this visit to Sudan is to hear from all stakeholders and the Mission leadership their pressing issues and to work together to make sure those issues are resolved."
During her visit, Ms. Haq travelled to Kabkabiya, a Mission team site located 80 kilometres northwest of El Fasher. In Kabkabiya, the USG visited UNAMID's hospital, which has provided healthcare services to more than 10,000 Darfuri patients, including 400 children, to date. The hospital, managed by UNAMID's Mongolian contingent, is currently implementing a quick-impact project designed to enhance the hospital's capabilities to accommodate service to 100 Darfuri patients daily.
While in Kabkabiya, Ms. Haq spoke with the Kabkabiya team and expressed hope to the Jordanian Formed Police Unit Commander for the speedy release of UNAMID's two kidnapped Jordanian police officers. In this regard, she said United Nations Headquarters is engaged daily in working toward their safe and speedy release.
At a town hall meeting conducted in El Fasher, Ms. Haq briefed UNAMID staff on issues related to recruitment, mobility and gender balance, and discussed her strategic focus for DFS in the context of global economic realities. She described how economic factors have transformed the financing of peacekeeping operations, introducing greater emphasis on efficiency, greater sensitivity to cost and a greater appreciation of the value of financial and human resources. "I am a firm believer in the role that we as staff members of the UN have as stewards of the resources that Member States entrust to the Organization," she said.
Ms. Haq called attention to the Global Field Support Strategy, an approach designed to consolidate mission support in global and regional service centres, with the first such regional centre being in Entebbe, Uganda. The USG pointed out that, in an era of financial austerity and at a time when the world's expectations for the UN are growing, the Organization must find ways to do more with less. The Global Field Support Strategy, she said, is the way of the future.
"My immediate focus is to ensure that Regional Service Centre Entebbe realizes the vision of a truly integrated hub of transactional support for the missions under its jurisdiction," said the USG. "This approach is more cost-effective and beneficial, and it will liberate mission leadership from the burden of mission support matters, helping them to focus on fulfilling their mandate."
Regarding UNAMID, Ms. Haq said she intended to assess the Mission's support to ensure an enabling environment so the Mission could meet the expectations of its mandate. "Although there is some progress in the peace process, there are some limitations, such as access restrictions," said the USG in an interview following the town hall meeting. "I have raised these issues with the Government to ensure smooth operation of the Mission, and in this regard I have received assurances of the Government's cooperation."
Since 2009, Ms. Haq (Bangladesh) was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). She has previously held the positions of Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General as well as United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan and before that as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan. Ms. Haq has 37 years of United Nations career service, 19 in the field and 18 at headquarters.
The United Nations Department of Field Support provides support to political and peacekeeping missions around the world, helping them to promote peace and security. DFS focuses on finance; logistics; information, communication and technology; human resources; and general administration.